Wondering what to do after attending a Dental Sleep Education course? It’s Monday morning and you just got back to your office from a training event and you are eagerly looking forward to talking to your staff about starting to screen patients for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You give them a few quick things to look for during their patient examinations and excitedly await to begin the treatment process for an OSA patient.
Nothing happened. No patients screened positive. Nobody is getting referred to get a sleep test.
What went wrong? You told the staff what to look for, showed them pictures, gave them examples, talked about how bad OSA is yet nobody discussed this with the patients. Why? Don’t they realize how important it is to screen every patient? Don’t they understand how debilitating OSA can be for a patient?
The reasons for not moving forward as fast as you may expect can happen for a variety of reasons. These can range from lack of understanding to being overwhelmed with lots of new information to uncertainty on how to approach a patient about their sleep. Having said that, there are things that you can do to make that transition go smoother.
Begin the screening process as soon as the patient walks through the door and signs in with the front office. There are a variety of screening tools that can be used like the Epworth or STOP-BANG in your office – click here to access the print screening or here for the interactive screening. This should be utilized with every patient.
Make sure your staff is fully trained in screening for OSA with dental patients. There are a number of courses that can be taken through any of the credentialing agencies (AADSM, ACSDD, AACP) as well as courses offered by SomnoMed. These courses will ensure that your staff is prepared to have conversations regarding OSA and treatment with your patients.
Find a way to get your patients diagnosed. This will likely involve developing a relationship with a local sleep physician to get your patients tested. The testing could also involve a Home Sleep Test (HST) which could possibly be dispensed through your office and read by a sleep physician.
Medical billing can be one of the largest hurdles to overcome. This can be addressed by either trying to go through medical billing yourself or by finding a reputable billing company that works with dentists.
One of the most important items is to make sure you partner with a reputable company for oral devices. Ensure that you are using a 510k cleared medical device and be sure to look for an ISO 13485 certification. This specific certification ensures that a company has a comprehensive quality management system specifically designated for medical device manufacturers.
Learn more about how SomnoMed Academy Dental Sleep Education seminars can benefit you, your staff, and your practice when treating patients with OSA by clicking here.